Disclaimer: I don't own or claim any rights to Teen Titans. They are the rightful property of Cartoon Network and DC Comics. Rightful, and only claim, is to the plot and the following OCs: Sin.
A/N: Greetings to everyone. Be forewarned that this story may seem to be a Robin/Starfire, BUT IT'S NOT! This fanfic is purely set to be a tribute to Robin/Raven fans, not to mention all you dark fiction lovers. For those of you who don't like this pairing, or dark material, then please stop reading this now and find one more to your liking. For everyone who knows me and have been with me for this one…I must apologize…I've lost my inspiration for this fanfic…and most of my others…but that was then. Now things are different and much has changed for me. Partly due to the Brown Recluse attack I suffered from last Fall…leading to much agonizing pain and near fear of losing my right leg, which was where the attack happened. Things didn't help when we later discovered that I had developed MRSA in my leg from the bites. (Please refer to for more information on MRSA.) Needless to say…I ended up in more pain than I was before; growing to the point I was literally begging to have my leg removed. Thankfully, the pain subsided and my leg started to resemble a normal leg again. It's still not fully recovered, but it's almost there. Also, I have been helping my mother tend to my grandparents, so that has taken up much of my time, nearly killing all my free time. But that, too, is at an end…I won't go into details right now as it's still a painful time for me, but matters have been settled.
During my recovery time, I re-evaluated my work...and I just couldn't think of how to continue it. So…I simply decided to start from scratch. Don't fear, I haven't changed the plot, I merely polished it. And I must say, this new version came out better than what I had previously had in mind for this fanfic. So without further ado…Scarlet Embrace—anew!
Requiem of Blood
The sun had begun to descend beyond the horizon. With its departure came the changing of the sky, changing the once clear blue sky into twilight. Blending slowly in and out of soft shades of lavender and orange, then even slower, it lighten just ever so slightly to pink.
A moment later...
The twilight sky bled red like the color of blood, as if some mad painter slashed the heavens with a razor in place of a soft brush. The now red sky loomed over everything, bathing all in its pain. It was as if the heavens were weeping for some unforeseen calamity about to happen, like it was giving a warning to anyone who would heed it; fighting inch by crawling inch against the darkness pooling forth over the bleeding sky. Even the sun darkened to a haunting glow as it disappeared to give rule over to the night. The crimson sky continued to change with the departing sun, growing darker and darker until the red sky became black as ink, throwing the city known as Jump City, The City of Tomorrow, into utter darkness. The night did give some hope as the black sky glittered with sparkling stars, fighting to try and illuminate the disturbing darkness. Only moments later did the moon grace the night, a full moon…but it gave no comforting silver light this night. This night the moon showered everything…in crimson.
A chuckle rolled softly throughout the eerie sky. The chuckle grew darker and focused more clearly on top of a building resting near the city's harbor. Strangely as the chuckle grew deeper, a blanket of shadows poured out of the meek ones already occupying the roof. The darkness swirled up like a spring of black water, raining back down as it reached its limit, bathing more darkness on the building. The next moment it wisped out of existence like smoke against a strong wind.
When the shadows disappeared they left a man standing in the center of the roof, who then walked to the edge of the roof. He gazed up at the night sky with a grin that would put the devil to shame. Soon enough, he brought his eyes down to stare over the calm sea and grinned fiendishly more when he looked upon the small island residing near the harbor.
"It's a beautiful night," said the man before chuckling darkly again. He slowly brought up his hand in a welcoming gesture toward the island. "Do you think the same…Robin?"
Over the sea on top of a T-shaped building resting on the small island, sat the hero to whom that name belonged to. Not in the least bit aware that someone had spoken directly to him. Robin, the Boy Wonder, was too absorbed with admiration for the glittering stars in the dark sky to care even if he did; too completely in awe with their sparkling beauty as they triggered blissful memories for him. But it had been a long time since he was called a boy. No, Robin was no longer a boy. He now is a man, having been so since he turned eighteen.
But that was two years ago. He was twenty now and in that time has grown a few more inches taller. His once lanky body now had more mass to it, but he still retained a slim, agile frame; sporting broad shoulders and a wide, well-developed chest, which gave him a handsome body. To go with his larger body, where once a boyish semi-round face belonged, was now squared out into a strong, firm, more mature one. His crown of spiky hair now rested more naturally on his head, having grown out almost past his shoulders.
Much more had happened than his growth. His skills have sharpened to where he stood on even grounds with the best of martial artists…except for one member of the Bat Family. Having achieved the highest scores in his third year in college (would have been his first year were it not for his 'night' life.) And, he was one year away from officially becoming eligible to join the Justice League…if he wanted to, that is. If that weren't enough change; just earlier today the entire team had voted to alter their team name to just 'The Titans', in respect to their adulthood. One thing didn't change for Robin. That was his costume…he still wore his traditional colors and style, just in a larger size now.
Besides that one thing, so much change had taken place, but Robin could still remember the day he and his friends became a team like it were yesterday. Particularly when he first met…
Out of the doorway came a young redhead. At first glance someone would believe she was a super-model, on account of how beautiful she was. With her curvy shape and voluptuous figure, hair that raced down past her alluring hips like molten silk, and a sensual face that would make a man melt for. But she wasn't just an ordinary beauty; her orange skin and unearthly green eyes revealed her to have alien origins. In fact, she was a princess from the planet Tamaran. Though royal, she was as much a warrior as her people were renowned to be. Her exotic frame was toned with muscles, like the Amazon warriors of Themyscira. Starfire had grown into the perfect vision of womanhood anyone could consider, whether they reside from earth or from Tamaran. To go with her mature body, Starfire had adorned a new costume, a rather risqué one as it showed more of her body than protected it. If anything, it flashed for anyone to see the center of her chest straight down to her belly button. In place of her normal gloves, she now wore armored bracers. Her boots were still the same, traveling still up to her thighs, but the material for them strengthened, as was her main suit.
She looked about as she walked out of the doorway, until she spotted Robin. Smiling brightly, she walked over to him and touched his shoulder.
"Robin, my love. What are you doing up here all alone?" said Starfire curiously.
Robin looked up at her and touched her hand affectionately. "Stargazing…and remembering the first time we met under them."
Starfire smiled softly down at him, reminiscing herself now back to that fateful night. She sat down next to Robin and wrapped her arms around his neck. Robin in return wrapped his left arm around her waist. The two snuggled up close, enjoying the other's warmth. During that time, Robin believed himself to be the luckiest man alive to have a woman like Starfire. What man wouldn't? It was a dream come true for any guy to fall in love with a real princess, an alien hotty princess for that matter. Some would think it couldn't get any better than that, if they were in his shoes.
But it can get better! When I ask Starfire to marry me, it sure will! thought Robin happily, placing his right hand secretly on a pocket that contained his proposal ring.
He had thought long and hard about asking Starfire to marry him. He didn't care that they were still quite young. They both knew they would be together forever, so why not make it official? Another reason, he admitted to himself, was that he wanted to get marry so he could experience having a real family again.
Unfortunately, this wasn't going to be the night he asked her…
Just one more month until our anniversary, then I'll ask her, thought Robin.
Starfire pretended to shiver from the night air, giving Robin an excuse to hug her more. "Why don't we go back inside…and get warmer."
Catching her meaning, Robin leaned his lips close to her ear, and whispered lovingly, "With you here, Star, I never noticed the cold." He then kissed her earlobe and then moved his mouth to kiss her lips.
She leaned into the kiss, already feeling herself melt all over for her earthling lover. Oh, she couldn't wait to get him into their room. So she could show him just how much his kisses did to her. When they stopped kissing, they got up and went back inside, holding each other's hands as they went to Robin's room…never aware of the man who had been watching them.
(Two hours later)
A much older, physically built Cyborg came charging into the common room. Like everyone, he too, had made some changes (or in his case some upgrades) to himself; most notably, his body armor. In place of his slightly bulky armor, he had installed slimmer armor, giving his body a more natural appearance, along with some new hidden arsenal systems.
"Guys! We've got problems…er? Where is everybody?" asked Cyborg upon seeing only Beast Boy in the common room.
The Beast Boy that addressed him was a taller, slightly more built Beast Boy. He still wore his Doom Patrol costume, only now without his gloves and sleeves, exposing solid, strong arms, and in his boots were longer and tighter fitting. "Yo Cyborg! What's the problem? You look like the Brotherhood of Evil just knocked on our door."
"Sadly, you're right," replied Cyborg seriously. "Only they're knocking on a military base's door…and Slade's drones are backing them up!"
"What?! Slade and the Brotherhood of Evil…together! Why would they work together?" wondered Beast Boy bewilderedly.
"That's what we're about to go and find out!" said Cyborg. "Now where's the rest of the team?"
"Do you really have to ask?" replied Beast Boy with a knowing look.
Cyborg groaned loudly to himself. "Fine, I'll get Raven. You go get the couple."
Beast Boy scratched the back of his head bashfully. "Wouldn't it be better if you got them? I mean, I…"
Cyborg abruptly cut him off. "Raven's still pissed at you for calling your relationship off with her!"
"Oh, yeah…forgot that," groaned Beast Boy, looking far from caring.
Cyborg would have snapped the green elf's head off for that look, but unfortunately, they didn't have enough time.
"Just go get Robin and Starfire, now!"
The changeling rolled his eyes and morphed into a hummingbird and zoomed off. Cyborg grimaced to himself about Beast Boy. He didn't believe that his friend understood how much he hurt Raven. The way he acted just now showed he didn't seem to care act all. He couldn't understand what went wrong between the two. They both seemed very happy when they began…but ever since that day Beast Boy took Raven to visit the Doom Patrol, things had gone to hell between the two. The breaking point was when Beast Boy told Raven he wanted to stop seeing her…and walked away without giving her a reason why. The breakup shattered Raven, resulting in near total isolation from everyone. It took Robin a long time to get her to come out; not to mention to keeping the team together after that incident.
Cyborg really wanted to give his green friend a good thrashing…but it would have to wait. He growled and stormed off to get Raven. Right now he had to get the team to the base and stop Slade and the Brotherhood of Evil. There would be time later to readjust Beast Boy's heartless attitude.
He arrived at Raven's door when he saw Robin and Starfire leave their room: fully dressed and ready, but looking at Beast Boy with the same frown he had on. As for Beast Boy, he had just hands stuffed in his pockets and looked completely uninterested for ruining their special time.
Ignoring his sudden urge to cause bodily harm at the changeling, Cyborg knocked on Raven's door. "Raven…I-I'm sorry but we're needed at Jump City's military base…"
The door instantly opened and Raven stepped out…covered completed in a black hood and cloak. "Let's go…"
"Yeah…" agreed Cyborg, and before he could say another word. Raven levitated away from him and joined the others, staying clear away from Beast Boy.
Damn you, Beast Boy… cursed Cyborg mentally, then joined in behind the team.
Inside the base's main facility, Monsieur Mallah was aiding Gizmo, who was 'volunteered' by Slade to aid in downloading a crucial file of a blueprint of a secret weapon, or so they were informed by the one-eyed mastermind. Gizmo's team: Mammoth, Seemore, Kyd Wykkyd, and Billy Numerous were with him, being ordered around by Madame Rouge in dispatching the last MP squad.
Madame Rouge glared at the young villains with a contemptible snarl on her lips, and then turned her cold eyes on Mallah. "Why are we using so many unneeded people? I could have gotten this mission done faster on my own!"
The intellectual ape snorted at her. "The Brain wishes to draw out the Titans…as per his agreement with Slade."
This led her to glare at the Drones Slade provided them. They stood in the shadows waiting for orders…but whose orders?
"General Immortus's robotic soldiers would have been a wiser choice…" hissed Madame Rouge.
Mallah shrugged his gigantic shoulders. "I care not about what robots we use. What is important here, Rouge, is getting Slade as an ally."
"Why do we need such a man?" asked Madame Rouge coldly. "The Brotherhood has better members than Slade!"
Mallah shook his head in silent annoyance. "We need him because he has resources we can use." He would have said more, but he was well aware that the Drones around them were transmitting everything they said back to Slade… wherever that man was at. "Just follow the plan, Rouge."
The heartless shape-shifter snarled lightly at him, but she conceded and turned to let out her anger on the amateurs, when suddenly Gizmo was surrounded by black energy and ripped away from the console.
"Crud!!" cried a startled Gizmo right before he was thrown at Mallah.
The intelligent ape easily caught Gizmo with one hand. "Hmm, about time they showed up. I was getting impatient."
The Titans came charging in fast and hard from a window in the ceiling.
"Titans! Go!" shouted Robin as he landed on the floor.
Madame Rouge gave a single hand signal for the Drones to attack the Titans. As promised by Slade, they obeyed her and darted out of the shadows to intercept them.
She shouted at Mallah. "Finish the rest of the download! I'll deal with these fools…permanently."
Knowing that tune in her voice the intelligent ape pitied the Titans, or he would have if he cared for their well-being. The Titans deserved whatever fated that came across anyone who challenged The Brotherhood of Evil. He himself would have aided in that task, but he had a more important task to complete first. He grunted his acknowledgement and focused his attention back on the console, dropping Gizmo, who was still snared in black energy.
"Hey, furball!" Get me outta this!" demanded Gizmo.
"I have no time to waste on you, whelp!" growled Mallah, keeping his attention on his work.
His response from the young, evil genius was a hail of verbal assaults. Surprising the gorilla slightly by the number of curses the shrimp knew.
Madame Rouge ignored the two and turned to the young villains. "Do not allow the Titans to interfere with the download…or you all will pay dearly for your failure!"
Now frightened, the H.I.V.E. villains obediently obliged and moved in to assist the drones.
Seeing the H.I.V.E. villains moving in, Robin ordered, "Titans! Separate!"
Starfire and Raven flew up into the air above the Drones. Beast Boy moved to the left, morphing into a rhino and plowed into the closest group of drones. Cyborg remained in the back to give cover fire for his teammates with his Sonic Cannon. Robin ran straight into the mass of villains.
"I'm gonna flatten you out with my boots!" stated Mammoth as he charged at Robin head first.
Robin smiled confidently and jumped at the last second on top of Mammoth's head, and then propelled himself off to land right behind all the H.I.V.E. villains. The momentum from Robin's jump sent Mammoth crashing face first onto the floor, and inadvertently tripping up his comrades and sending them all toppling over one another.
Madame Rouge growled in pure frustration at their incompetence and moved in to intercept Robin. "So, the little birdie wishes to play with the big leagues, does he?" sneered Madame Rouge, stretching her fingers out to resemble talons.
Robin drew out one of his Freezo-Disks. "What is the Brotherhood up to, Rouge? And why are you working for Slade?"
His accusation infuriated the shape-shifter. "We work for no one! Especially some has-been who kept losing to children!"
"Like you, huh?" jeered Robin intentionally, aiming to make her lose her focus to her anger. He succeeded beyond his dreams.
Madame Rouge literally saw red. "Why you!"
She stretched out her arms to slash at Robin with her talons. Robin leapt back and threw his disk directly at Madame Rouge. The elongated psycho used her inhuman reflexes and flexibility to twist out of the disks' path, letting it encase the wall behind her in ice. At that moment, Mallah completed the download.
"Rouge! Mission complete! Retreat for now…we'll leave Slade's Drones to cover our escape!" shouted Mallah over to his companion.
"I will not retreat until I've made this Titan suffer!" vowed Madame Rouge, whipping her arms out at Robin, leaving huge slash marks everywhere but on the dodging Titan leader.
"Suit yourself," replied Mallah, inwardly worried by his teammate's odd behavior. 'Is her other persona breaking out…?' He quickly pulled out the disc he had downloaded all the information on and placed it safely in one of the compartments in his shoulder strap; at the same time, he took out a small explosive. He tossed the explosive at the ice-covered wall and it detonated on contact, creating a quick exit for him. "I'll just tell The Brain how well I completed the mission!" He then dashed to the exit on all fours, hastily making his way back to the hovercraft they used to arrive at the base.
Madame Rouge, too enraged with Robin and now Mallah, didn't care what The Brain thought anymore. More importantly, she was tired of losing to a bunch of young fools who shouldn't be a problem to handle, and yet, proved time after time to be real troublesome for her.
'Time I put an end to these kiddie games!' thought Madame Rouge angrily. She drew back her arms and headed for the exit Mallah used.
"Hey! Come back here!" shouted Robin, chasing after her.
Madame Rouge headed into a hallway that lay beyond the hole, but she wasn't going for the hovercraft. As a matter of fact, she was moving in the complete opposite direction that her comrade Mallah had taken. No, she wasn't leaving until she made the bastard pay for thinking he was her better. That was why she was moving away from the hovercraft. She wanted to find a suitable place to lure Robin into a trap.
Her brooding came to an end when her right foot was suddenly frozen, bringing her to a painful halt. Looking back, she saw Robin readying another Freezo-disk to trap her better. As fast as she could she clinched her left fist and expanded it to resemble a ball, and then used it to smash the ice around her foot. Pain quickly followed as a result of slamming at the ice, finding that the ice had completely frozen her foot. Cursing at the Titan leader, Rouge pivoted to the side to miss being hit by the disk Robin threw at her. She used her momentum to her advantage by rolling herself up into a tight ball and bounced off the wall and ricocheted down the rest of the way.
"You're not getting away!" promised Robin, doubling his effects and ran faster after her.
Madame Rouge unrolled herself when she found an exit. She just got it open when Robin was about to catch up to her.
"That's it, little birdie, keep following me," whispered Madame Rouge, then hurried out through the exit.
Robin charged after her through the exit door and caught her heading into one of the base's hangers. He didn't stop to ponder what was obvious. He knew she was leading him into a trap just by instinct, but he couldn't let her escape until he found out what she and Mallah extracted from the base's computer. Cautiously, he followed Madame Rouge into the hanger. As he entered, he wasn't surprised at all to find she was nowhere in sight. The hanger was filled with stacked crates, giving Rouge plenty of places to hide and ambush him.
Focusing on his surroundings, Robin walked further into the hanger readying a Freezo-Disk and keeping vigilance over his surroundings. He moved in silently between the narrow spaces of the stacked crates, looking for any signs of the shape-shifter. When he came to the end of the fifth stack of crates, he sensed someone sneaking up behind him. But before he could whip around and use his disk, the person sneaking up behind him spoke.
"It's been quite a while…hasn't it, Robin?" said an all-too-familiar strong, calculating voice.
Robin spun on his right heel and snarled, "…Slade."
The one-eyed mastermind stood in a mocking, calm pose with his arms folded comfortably behind him. "I see you've gotten quicker, Robin. I didn't even have to give myself away before you notice my presence." Robin could have sworn he heard a hint of pride in his otherwise cold tune.
"What are you after, Slade?" demanded Robin, tightening his grip on his disk.
"You know me well enough to know I won't simply tell you," chuckled Slade. "But you can find out…"
Robin narrowed his eyes at him. "Exactly how can I find out?"
Slade unfolded his arms and held up one hand in an inviting gesture. "By joining me, of course. There's still so much more you haven't learned yet, Robin. So much more…"
"Sorry, but I've already given my answer to you years ago," replied Robin curtly. "Plus, I'm not interested in being an apprentice to anyone, ever!"
Slade shook his head, as if he was humoring a child, which in a sense to Slade, he was. "No, you've learned on your own. I want you to be my partner, Robin…my equal."
Of all the things he ever expected Slade to say, that wasn't one of them. "P-Partner? With you?" It might have seemed like Robin was actually considering such a proposal, but then he quickly stepped into an offensive stance. "You don't share anything, Slade! And besides, I'd never turn my back on my friends for personal gain, not ever!"
Slade actually had the humility to sigh for his short-time apprentice. "Things are different, Robin. You can't understand what is going on right now. You have so much potential, Robin! Does playing the hero really satisfy you that much?"
"I never played, Slade! There isn't another life I'd trade for that could replace the one I have now!" stated Robin firmly.
Slade merely shrugged. "You never know, Robin. Everything changes…including alliances."
"Like you joining The Brotherhood of Evil? Why are you working for them, Slade?" inquired Robin curiously. For all the time he's ever known Slade being a team player wasn't one of them. And he was stalling for time. He was confident in his skills to defeat Slade, but he wasn't too sure when and where Madame Rouge was going to strike. If she attacked now, Robin knew he'd have the disadvantage. His only hope at the moment was to play along with Slade's word games and hope the others found him soon.
Slade tensed ever-so-slightly. "I didn't join that pack of fools. I only acquired their services to distract you and your friends long enough to complete my own objectives." He withdrew a compact disc from his belt. "I already gotten the files I require while Gizmo unknowingly unlocked the firewalls and safeguards for me." He wiggled it in the air just enough to widen Robin's shocked look and quickly placed it back in the compartment in his belt. "But that wasn't my only objective. My other objective is to offer you something not even you could pass up, Robin."
Robin looked at him skeptically. "Oh, I doubt that."
"Then let me settle your doubt. What I have to offer actually will benefit you…and your friends…" replied Slade, almost mumbling that last part. "There are powers at work in the city, Robin. Powers that would put Trigon to shame!"
"That's all you care about, Slade...Power!" growled Robin. "You think everyone is interested in gaining more power like you."
"Aren't they, Robin?" challenged Slade with and amused tone. "Haven't you sought power in order to defeat the criminals you come across? And don't say you don't; you're too mature now to make a childish remark like that. You seek power just like me, even if you've used the power you gain to be a martyr…"
Robin glared at his arch-nemesis. In a way he had a point. He did want to be stronger, he wanted to be better than the opponents he faced off…but there was one major sufficient difference.
"You might think helping those weaker than myself is being a martyr, Slade. Wanting to help those that can't help themselves against people like you! But to me, that's worth anything…even my own life!" declared Robin proudly.
"Robin, for once stop thinking like a fool…!" Slade was suddenly cut off when he suddenly leapt forward at Robin.
Robin, thinking it was attack, readied himself to counter him, but when suddenly Slade halted just a fraction in front of him and grabbed his arm he didn't fight back. It wasn't a grapple move as he first thought because Slade left himself a wide opening in his defense. He knew Slade enough to know that had he meant to attack, he'd never leave an open for Robin, it would have been an insult to the both of them. Robin let Slade pull him and a good thing he did, too. Right where he had been standing, a elongated arm had slammed and planted itself in the concrete ground. A moment later, Madame Rouge leapt down from her hiding place from atop the crates, glaring at Slade venomously.
"I knew you weren't to be trusted!" growled Madame Rouge lowly. "You will pay for using and betraying The Brotherhood."
Slade narrowed his eye with a twinge of mockery and amusement.
"Your group was necessary to draw out the Titans. As for betrayal?" He smiled behind his mask and that smile reflected in his eye. "I never had joined or ever will work for a bunch of second-rates."
As he predicted the shape-shifter threw him a hateful glare and readied to attack. That is until she smirked and began to chuckle. Slade remained composed on the outside, but inwardly he was concerned by her mood change. Thankfully, he moved Robin to his right side so he could cast a quick glance at him with his remaining eye. Like him, Robin was keeping a cool exterior; and like him, he knew the young man was also calculating her actions. How he wished Robin would understand his way of reasoning. They were so much alike in almost all aspects. He could be a power to be feared...if only he'd let go of his foolish ideals.
The cycloptic villain smirked behind his mask. If all went according to his plan. Then the young hero will see his way of thinking...But first, he had to clean up some loose ends with this crazy woman and her organization.
He was about to ask why Madame Rouge was smirking so confident, when he quickly sensed movement all around him. Out from behind the towers of crates came a squadron of his Drones, except these drones were completely black and in place of their standard laser handguns, they all were equipped with plasma wrist-blades, each glowing and illuminating the hanger in a azure hue. His blood began to boil in rage. The bastards had taken this temporary alliance to copy his drone's designs! He vowed in that moment that they would regret this to their last dying breath.
Robin was about to make a retort to Slade, but when he looked at the mastermind he saw rage boiling in his visible, remaining eye. "Guessing these aren't yours, huh, Slade?"
Madame Rouge's smirk grew upon also noticing Slade's reaction to the 'improved' drones. "I see General Immortus didn't waste any time in constructing 'our' new Assassin Drones."
"No one steals my designs..." warned Slade. "You just crossed a very wrong line, Rouge."
"Had you simply been loyal to us, you dog, then you would have benefited from the new Drones we made from your inferior models," jeered Madame Rouge, sauntering over to the closest Drone, and chuckled manically. "Heh, heh! It's only right that you should he killed by your own weapons, Slade."
Robin instantly heard the sound of a fist clinching. He glanced once more at Slade to see his assumption was correct.
"Irony is a pain, isn't it?"
"Indeed..." growled Slade with a hint of malice.
Robin didn't hold back his smile. He admitted that he was taking pleasure from Slade's predicament. How could he not? It wasn't every day he got to witness the mastermind's discomfort.
Slade noticed this and glowered at the Titan leader. "Keep your focus where it needs to be, Robin. These Drones are deadlier than what I originally made them out to be."
This was all too true. His keen eye noted the various new changes that the old fool made. These Drones were made purely to kill. He sneered at this. He was many things and done many more, but a coward he was not. He originally made his Drones for more espionage purposes; to gather information and sometimes acquire items for him rather than for actually combat. Yes, he installed a combat system in them, but that also was for espionage purposes. Mainly, to use to test his opponents strengths so he could analyze their abilities and determine a weakness. That was what they were truly for...not tools for cowards who were too scared to get their hands dirty.
He quickly pressed a command button located on belt-buckle, which would send a signal for his remaining Drones to report to him for new commands. But when he did, Madame Rouge laughed wickedly.
"Do not bother, Slade," said Madame Rouge. "We had our Drones dispatch your pathetic ones...and dispatch the rest of those annoying Titans."
Robin gasped. "W-What...?"
Madame Rouge turned to him as a cruel smile grew on her face. "That's right, Robin. When I pulled you into this hanger, I had sent a signal for our drones to...kill everyone here on the base. And I promise you, they have already made your comrades into fresh corpses..."
Robin felt his heart sank. All his friends...dead? He couldn't believe it...or so he would have been lead, until he realized they couldn't be dead. He'd definitely feel it if they were killed...He would feel his connection to...
"Nice try, Rouge. But my teammates are still alive and they won't be stopped by these killing machines," declared Robin with pure confidence. "I'd know if they'd die."
Slade quirked up a hidden eyebrow at Robin. "Is it because you have so much faith in your friends?"
Robin didn't miss the note of sarcasm in Slade's voice. "No, it's much deeper than that...something you'd never understand."
Slade took this under great consideration. At first he believed he was talking about his alien lover and was about to remark on how idiotic Robin was to believe his intimate feelings could establish such a connection. Just as he was, though, another thought popped in his mind.
"I see..." murmured Slade to Robin.
Robin glared at Slade. Something inside him alerted alarm bells in his head at the way Slade was too at ease with that information. He'd have to worry about that another time. Right now he had to get out of this spot with his life if he hoped to see his teammates and his lover again. It wasn't going to be easy, not with those new Drones and Madame Rouge to content with...and Slade to tip-toe around.
Slade must have come to the same conclusion as him. "As much as you despise me, Robin, I don't enjoy the thought of being done in by ripped-off versions of my Drones."
That was all Robin needed to know. Instantly, the two slammed their backs close together. Robin replaced his disk for his Bo Staff and readied it in a defensive pose, just as Slade pulled out his own version from his belt and extended it out.
"Oh, now this is a sight," mused Madame Rouge. "Arch-rivals joining forces in hopes of stopping the inevitable..." She chuckled cruelly at their antics. "You have no hopes, even together, in stopping me and this squadron. They will kill you without hesitation. Believe me on this...I wrote it into their program." She pretended to sigh and raised one hand. "But enough of this time consuming conversation. I grow bored with it." She made a chopping motion with her hand and the Assassin Drones attacked.
The ex-apprentice and Master moved as one. Robin parried the lunge of one Drone's wrist-blade with his Bo Staff and countered with an elbow into the Drones temple, smashing its head and disabling it. Behind him, Slade blocked a jab from another Drone and twirled his Bo Staff to push the Drone to his side, giving him time to high-kick the Drone's head, breaking its cybernetic neck and decommissioning it forever. Then both stepped back to keep their backs close together. They repeated this every time two or more Drones attacked: blocking, countering, and then regrouping. It was a basic fighting strategy; nothing fancy about it or complicated. In life-or-death battles, sometimes the simplest tactics kept the most seasoned warrior alive. That is until Madame Rouge jumped into the fray.
She had gotten tired of seeing The Brotherhood's newest Drones be reduced to scrap-iron by these fools. She lashed out at the two of them with one arm, forcing the two to split and change to another battle tactic. What neither realized was that Madame Rouge's strike forced Robin closer to her and pushed Slade closer to the Drones. She wanted to take out the weaker of the two, and in her opinion the Titan leader was very much the weakest because of his age and his youthful cockiness.
She leapt in closer to Robin and began whipping out her arms at speeds that made her a threat to Kid Flash. Robin was able to dodge one arm, just barely, but he wasn't able to dodge the other arm. It solidly slammed into Robin's back, smashing him painfully down to the concrete flooring. She moved in on him before he could regain the air his lungs lost, whipping her arm out once more and bashing Robin again on the back, this time, she was rewarded with a sickly snap of ribs breaking.
Robin cried out in pain.
Madame Rouge grinned sinisterly as she stalked over to the wounded Titan leader and drove her heel into the rib she believed was broken. The wail of agony that followed afterward told her she was right. Her grin widened.
"So this is the little birdie's song?" chuckled Madame Rouge. "How lovely to hear...I want to hear more!"
She then proceeded to grind her heel on the broken rib, resulting in Robin screaming more in pain and trying to wiggle free from her. She stretched her right arm and grabbed Robin on the back of his head.
"Sing a little louder for me!" crackled Madame Rouge, pulling his head up and forcing his back to bend and drive her heel more into his rib, shattering it.
Blood quickly poured out of Robin's mouth, feeling it fill his right lung as a fracture of his shattered rib pierced it. Madame Rouge gleefully twisted her heel more, hearing another rib break. She would have continued breaking all his ribs in this fashion if she hadn't sensed movement behind her and twisted just her torso out of the way. When she twisted her head completely around to look behind her, she saw Slade had abandoned his Bo Staff for a collapsible Katana he had hidden in his armor to stab her through with. She frowned at him playfully as she turned her body to match her head, semi-dragging Robin with her as she still had a hold of his head.
"I do not see what you saw in this pathetic worm, Slade," grunted Madame Rouge, as she raised Robin up off the ground. "He has no special qualities other than sticking his nose where it never belonged." She took a moment to ponder more on Robin, playing it up as much as she could while she thought of the next thing to do to the Titan leader. As she did, a thought came to her as she looked at Slade's eye...or rather the one he lacked. "Hmm, maybe I do see the potential. He's just like you, Slade: bold, harsh...and pathetic to believe to be a match for me." She stretched her index finger, sharpening her nail to a claw and she positioned it over Robin's left eye. "...But he doesn't look anything like you. I think we should correct that."
Slade's visible eye widened. Robin wasn't sure but he thought he saw fear in Slade's eye.
"...No," murmured Madame Rouge, retracting her index finger. "He should have his own individuality!" Faster than she stretched her index finger, she stretched out her thumb and drove the sharp digit straight into Robin's protective mask and straight into his right eye, borrowing it deeply.
The scream that poured forth from Robin was by far more agonizing than any he had made previously.
"...No," whispered Slade, nearly losing his grip on his Katana and staring in disbelief at the gory scene, watching in horror as Madame Rouge bore her thumb in Robin's right eye, He immediately tightened his grip on the sword and glared with pure hatred at the shape-shifter. "You ruined him!!"
Madame Rouge wiggled her bloody thumb slightly deeper in Robin's ruined eye. "Oh, don't be so harsh. I think it's an improvement. See, now he has your eye...well, lack of an eye. Heh, heh, heh!"
Slade thought she would stop there...but she continued. She retracted her thumb and with her free hand, she lengthened her fingers to the length of daggers and impaled them in Robin's gut. Madame Rouge only laughed madly as her arm was showered in warm red blood. Slade had enough. She was purposely torturing Robin because she understood how it would affect him. If she was hoping to hit the nail into the wood...she drove that nail in far too hard. Slade lunged out at Madame Rouge, aiming to cleave her head clean off her. Were her reflexes not better than his own, he would have achieved it. She was ready for his attack and easily extended her neck and head out of his blade's path. She leapt back and pulled her fingers out of Robin and tossed the Titan leader aside, sending him flying through the air like a rag doll and crashing into a crate. The force of his impact caused the ones stacked on top of it to cave in on it...crushing everything beneath them.
In a moment of panic, Slade forgot everything and started toward the collapsed crate. That moment caught him dearly. Madame Rouge lashed out at him with her arms and slammed him away from the collapsed crates. She knocked him against another stack of crates.
"I never thought you'd care for someone, Slade," sneered Madame Rouge. "To imagine, the heart of cold steel, Slade...forgetting his head for the death of a contemptible boy...how utterly pathetic."
Slade pushed himself off the cracked crate and raised his sword. "You have no idea the damage you've just done..."
"I don't care what you had planned for that worm!" growled Madame Rouge. "All I did was show just how insufficient that wretched boy was!" She readied to strike at him again…but was stopped when she felt something...dark filled the hanger. It's presence sent a cold chill down her spine, forcing her to stop in her tracks.
"You will pay for what you did, you damned psycho..." spoke a deep, dark voice from everywhere.
Madame Rouge darted her head around every direction she could to locate the person who spoke. "Show yourself!"
"As you wish..." replied the mysterious voice.
A rumble came from the ruined crates short before all the wreckage was sent flying everywhere. Madame Rouge and Slade shielded against or dodged the debris that fell down over them. When no more debris was falling, Madame Rouge glared at the spot from where the debris came from...and gasped.
In the middle of the now cleared wreckage, glowed a pair of ethereal black wings. Those wings slowly folded behind a tall man, who was holding Robin in his arms. The man was oddly tall and slim with black hair that reached down way past his waist and pulled back in a loose ponytail. He had long black bangs that nearly hide half the left side of his face, more was hidden by the thick black sunglasses he wore to hide his eyes. He was dressed in all black, wearing a long leather black jacket and leather tight pants to match. There was no shirt on him, just the jacket, exposing a solid toned and extremely pale chest. The oddest features on him were around his waist: ten belts. TEN! Seven of them were hanging diagonally off his hips, but were supported by three that fit horizontally around his thin waist. Along the length of each belt was a role of red glyphs. But those belts weren't the oddest things he wore. His boots were steel-plated around where his feet fit in them, with rows of buckled belts making up the length of his boots up to his knees.
The strange man kneeled down and placed Robin carefully down on the ground. Slade stalked over close enough to see that Robin had suffered more damage when he crashed into the crates. He had more cuts and wounds all over him and in the center of his chest stuck out a piece of broken wood.
"Give him to me, now!" commanded Slade.
The stranger ignored him as he looked down at Robin and raised his pale hand to stroke his face. "...Poor boy. Poor boy."
Slade drew his katana and pointed the tip at the strangers head. "I wasn't asking you. Give him to me now or you will pay...with your life."
The stranger's wings folded completely to back and they melted into the fabric of his jacket. In their place appeared a long black sheath that was nearly as long as he was, and in that sheath was a sword, a very long sword with a hilt decorated like a serpents' tail and a bladed tip at the end of the hilt. He slowly raised his face up to Slade and as he did, he grinned devilishly...
"You'll find it hard to take my life...when I lost it centuries ago," mused the stranger, chuckling darkly. He slowly rose to his full height and undid the sheath on his back from its harness, then laid its length over his shoulders and folded his long arms around it.
"This boy only has a few minutes of life left," informed the stranger. "But not enough time for anyone to get him to be treated." He turned his head to Madame Rouge and a faint red glow emitted from behind his sunglasses. "...The wounds are fatal."
Slade stared downed at Robin, shaking with untold rage. "This wasn't the way it was suppose to happen, Robin. You were going to be the one to stand at my side...my equal."
Surprisingly, even in the significant amount of pain he was in, Robin managed to turn his head to look directly at Slade. "...I-I still w-wouldn't h-have...j-join..." He was stopped by a fit of cough that forced more blood to pour from his mouth.
Slade closed his eye. He couldn't look anymore at Robin without feeling...sad.
"Then at least let me end your suffering...for both our sakes," offered Slade, tightening his grip on his sword.
Robin stared at Slade with his one good eye…at his most hated enemy. The man he vowed to put to justice if it killed him. Now it was this same man that he thought was too heartless to show mercy, too cruel to ever give mercy, offer to end his suffering. Slade was truly an enigma to him even in his time of dying. Had he the strength, he'd defy Slade one more time...just to spite him one last time, but his vision was slowly darkening and he could feel his other lung feel with blood. All he could do was think and decide how he wanted to go out. So far all he had were two choices and both weren't fun. His first choice was to just let his blood fill his lungs completely and suffocate him to death...Or he could accept Slade's offer and have a quick, clean death. If the stranger was right, he had no other choice than death...
"S-Slade," whispered Robin.
Slade nodded in response to let him know he was listening.
"...T-Tell...my...my friends...I...I," he was halted again by a fit of coughing and more blood bubbling up his throat.
Slade moved to Robin. "I know what you wish to say..."
He drew back his sword and was readying the killing blow. when suddenly, the stranger appeared right in his way and kicked him right in the gut, sending him flying through the air and landing roughly fifteen feet away from where he had stood.
"You won't kill this boy, Slade. Even if your intentions were...admirable," the stranger said, grinning wider. "I have my own plans for him."
Slade stormed back onto his feet. "Plans? Who the hell are you?!"
Madame Rouge stepped forward, raising her arms up and lashing them out at the stranger. "Dead man is who he is!"
The stranger made no motion to dodge her attack. In the last second that her arms were about to connect, he moved. That was the only way to describe what happened then. One second he looked like he was going to take the strike, the next, Madame Rouge was knocked off her feet by a kick in the face by a plated foot she never saw come at her. The stranger was now standing right in front of her with his right leg still raised up.
"Don't bite more than you can chew, bitch," hissed the stranger. "You have no idea what you're facing."
Madame Rouge rolled to her side and wiped the back of her hand over her chin, looking down to see blood smeared on it. "You'll pay for interfering!" She made another chopping moment.
The Assassin Drones lunged at the stranger with their wrist-blades blazing hot. The stranger grinned evilly and again made no move to stop the assault. And like before he waited till the last second, but this time he didn't move at all. This time, a darkness rose up from the ground and in a blink of an eye; all the Drones were sliced to pieces. Madame Rouge stared in total disbelief as the darkness that attacked slowly moved behind the stranger…and opened burning red glowing eyes at her and smiled. Yes, it smiled a mouth full of pure white sharp teeth for her to see. The shadow looked to be forming an upper human torso, extending long, muscular arms that ended with wicked long talons. The shadow slowly leaned over the stranger, with one arm resting over his shoulders and matched his wicked grinning face.
"As I said, bitch…you have no idea what you're facing," repeated the stranger with gleeful malice.
Madame Rouge just snarled at him and stood back up. "You'll have to do more than make your shadow scary to defeat me."
The stranger threw his head back as he started laughing darkly, and said, "Come on, babe. Let's get nasty!"
"Don't call me babe!" raged Madame Rouge, lashing out at him with her arms.
The shadow behind the stranger reacted quickly. It whipped around the stranger and countered the arms with its own, batting them away with little effort. It stretched itself out and slashed at Madame Rouge with its talons, forcing her to leap back. The shadow continued coming at her, twisting in the air, building up momentum, and lunging back at her new position. Once more it slashed out at her again and again, backing her away.
The stranger turned away from the fight, knowing his shadow could deal with her. Just as he fully turned around, he brought the end of his sheath down to block Slade's sword from taking his neck. Not letting that stop him, the stranger used his momentum to keep spinning and pushed Slade's sword back and delivered a kick to the owner's exposed flank, then stopped spinning to face Robin once more.
"Stay out of this, Slade," warned the stranger. "You're wasting my time and Robin's."
Slade had been thrown off balance by the kick, but quickly recovered and leapt at the stranger once more, slashing down at him. "You can't help him! No one can…"
The stranger side-stepped gracefully and once more kicked Slade faster than he could block away from him. "You're wrong, Slade. I'm the only one that can save him. But the more your stall me, the more his chances are gone." The stranger kneeled down to Robin and slipped his hand behind Robin's head. "Robin? Can you hear me?"
Slade was just getting himself back up and ready to strike when he saw Robin nod. He stopped and couldn't help but wonder if this person really could help Robin, and if he could, why? What was this man's agenda? Whatever it was, Slade would let this man help, then deal with him and get his apprentice back. He looked on more as Robin stared up at the man with his remaining eye, twitching slightly as his life drained from his body.
"Time is running out for you, Robin," continued the stranger. "You only have a few moments before death takes you. But it doesn't have to be so…"
Robin's good eye gazed at him blankly, already seeing darkness circling around his remaining imagine. "H-How…?"
"I can save you, Robin…but at a cost," replied the stranger, curling his long, pale fingers through Robin's black locks.
Robin attempted to chuckle but it came out in a fit of bloody coughing. "F-Figures…"
The stranger softened his devilish grin to a friendly one. "It isn't as bad as you may think, but there isn't time to explain…you need to make a choice now, Robin." He raised his free hand up to Robin's face. "You can accept my help and let me heal you…or…" He slowly placed his hand on the piece of wood sticking out of Robin's chest. "I can give you the peace your own enemy was willing to give you."
"H-How can y-you heal-l me?" managed Robin weakly.
"By giving you my embrace…my scarlet embrace, Robin," replied the stranger solemnly.
Slade's eye went wide with surprise. "…Embrace? Who…Who are you?"
Even in Robin's state, he could detect the note of fear in his voice.
The stranger looked back at Slade and smiled widely as his canines slowly lengthened to fangs. "Oh? Strange that you aren't asking 'what' I am."
"I know what you are!" snapped Slade, clenching his fist. "I don't waste time asking things I already know. Now! Tell me who you are!"
The stranger looked away from Slade, gazing back at Robin and stroking his hair. "I've been called man y things. Most of them from my enemies…but there is one name they called me that I've grown fond of."
"No…!" Slade's eye widened even more as he started to step back from the stranger, almost dropping his sword…almost. "You can't be…"
The stranger laughed darkly and lifted Robin up from the cold ground and cradled him to his chest, oddly as a father would a child. His jacket smoked as darkness emerged on his back and those ethereal wings returned and extended out in their full glory. "…Yes…I am." His wings flexed and he disappeared from sight along with Robin.
In the background, the shadow that was attacking Madame Rouge faded into the surrounding shadows, saving its evil grin for last in spite at her.
Madame Rouge roared in fury. "That bastard! I will make him a corpse if it's a last thing I do!"
Slade tightened his grip in cold fury. "You'd be wasting your time, Madame Rouge…"
Madame Rouge brought her furious gaze on the mastermind. "Tell me what you know of that dead man or I will force it out of you!"
Slade scoffed at her and started walking away from her and disappeared into the shadows, but his voice carried out to her. "He's already a dead man, Rouge. That man you just met was no man…that was a monster, a real monster…one you would never hope to best…nor me."
The stranger reappeared on top of Titans Tower, placing Robin down on the rooftop gently. "I'm sorry for taking you from your friends, Robin. But I need you and I to be alone for this with no interruptions."
Robin couldn't reply. His strength was nearly gone, draining out of him with each drop of blood oozing out of him. The stranger looked worried, or so Robin thought as his face actually started to look paler to him. The stranger removed his jacket, revealing a nasty scar on his chest. The scar appeared to look as if someone had drilled four holes into his chest, leaving four wickedly horrid scars. He then placed his sword and his jacket gently down next to Robin, and then kneeled down and ripped opened the front of his ruined costume.
He stopped there and looked down into Robin's eye and brought his hand up once more to him. "You must make the choice now, Robin. Accept this…and you will never fear death again."
"Ca…cat…" coughed Robin, fighting with every ounce of his being to keep his eye open.
"Catch?" finished the stranger, receiving a weak nod from Robin. "…You will be different, I won't lie to you. You will no longer be human….you'll be something more…and something dark, very dark." He hushed Robin when he started struggling. "But you will have control of it, Robin. I will see that you can…now please. Your heart is slowing down, and you're almost completely out of blood from your injuries. You most choose…darkness…or death?" Feeling the faint reluctance, the stranger leaned closer, enough to whisper into his ear. "...Do you want to leave this world with my face as its last imagine…or that of someone precious to you?"
That was the clincher. Immediately, Robin thought of his friends, his Starfire…and…
Deep inside of him he felt something open up and reach out to one of his teammates, the one that felt everything he felt drew strength from secretly…his closest and dearest friend, and he knew she was alive and afraid for him. How he wanted to stay with them, tell them one more time how much they meant to him. His body must have decided for him because his hand moved on its own and trembled to grasp the stranger's.
The stranger eased his effort and moved his hand so Robin could let his fall into it, and smiled. "So be it…"
Unbelievably to Robin, the stranger used his other hand to plunge his fingers right into his chest; precisely where his scars were and dug them into his flesh and cutting open his own heart with his nails. Horrified but this mutilation, Robin was too shock to realize that the stranger had let go of his hand and grabbed the piece of wood in his chest and rip it out, then used it to. All he knew was pain after that, blinding all his senses. He never felt the stranger quickly grab him and hugged him close to his pale body, pressing their wounds together and letting their blood mix into each other. Then, when both their blood pooled into the other's body, they both were engulfed in unimaginable pain, howling in agony to the night as the blood burned like acid in their veins.
Robin didn't know how he found the strength or where it could have come from, but he cried, "…W-What's happening to me!?"
The stranger hissed in pain and pulled Robin closer into his embrace. "…You're dying, Robin…you have to die before you can be reborn…"
And that was the last thing Robin heard before he past out from the excruciating pain. He slumped raggedly against his 'savior'…and remained motionless. The stranger continued to hold Robin to his chest, letting their blood mix more into their chests. The foreign blood from the stranger moved like it was alive, slithering its way into every cell in Robin's body. Already noticeable changes were taking place. The bits of wood and splinters lacing Robin's body were pushed out, leaving a minor wound before quickly healing up, as if made of hot wax and skillful invisible hands were smoothing it out to perfect, pale skin. His hair grew out, now reaching past his waistline, his body thinned out some. Next, his already built body toned more out, sharpening his features…purging now un-necessary body fluids as it did. The sound of bones crackling could be hard clearly as they realigned themselves and refused to their original state. With the bones back in their place, all his torn muscles and punctured organs reattached and healed up. Once this miraculous change was over, the stranger collapsed to the bloody rooftop, pulling Robin off his chest and laying him down next to him rough. He then rolled onto his back and stared up wildly into the night sky as the blood he received from Robin healed his only injury…and flooded his mind with memories belonging to Robin.
His eyes moved rapidly seeing imagines play back and forth through his mind, seeing all that Robin saw, feeling all that Robin felt; experiencing everything he experienced. He knew this would happen. It was his kind's ability to understand better the one they embraced, to know what they truly felt and thought to better grow a bond between them. After some time had passed, the stranger had fully worked out Robin's memories and sat up weakly, looking down at the unconscious hero.
"…What a hard life you've had, my boy," whispered the stranger, reaching out and stroking one of Robin's long black locks. "I wish I could promise it will get easier from here on…but that would be a lie." He slowly looked up at the moon while continuing to stroke the one lock and grinned, looking fully satisfied by what he had done. "But what a life you will now trend, my boy…Oh, what new things you will discover in your new world, Robin…" He gazed back down at the blood-covered Titan Leader, watching the hole in his chest finally heal itself, leaving the only scar he'll ever have for the rest of his existence of a jagged hole, from where the piece of wood had once been impaled in him. "…Welcome to my world, Robin…my dark angel…"
Right after he said those words he slowly began to chuckle deeply. Soon his chuckling grew to full laughter, laughing so hard his shoulders shook violently, and then his laughter turned to mad crackling that carried all through-out the night.
A/N: Once more I wish to thank you for reading my work and hope you take the time to review. I will state now that I will only acknowledge constructive reviews. If you simply leave a flamer telling me how much you didn't like it, I will ignore it, as it's a waste of my time and your time for leaving such a review. If you do wish to criticize, then please let it be in a professional, constructive manner. I cannot improve if I'm not told what it is I need to improve on. I don't have time to go back and re-do it, and no beta-reader to help me. So, again, please be thoughtful before leaving one.
For those of you who have been faithful and staying with me for this long, I wish to hear your opinion the most of all about this new version. I hope you enjoy this story more than you had its previous version. Thank you all and I will have the next update out soon, that's for sure as I'll be already moving on to start that one. Tell then…
'May the Night Bless you'